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U of T visiting scholar pairs Afghanistan advocacy with a passion for physics

Tahir shaaran

Growing up in Afghanistan, Tahir Shaaran was endlessly curious about the world around him – including the seemingly endless conflicts that engulfed his country. 

“I was always thinking about the connection between me and my surroundings and how the universe is functioning – ‘What is the meaning of being here?’ – and those kinds of complicated philosophical questions,” he says.

Shaaran found at least some of the answers he was seeking in physics – and quantum physics in particular. He would go on to spend nearly two decades studying and working around the world before returning to Afghanistan to work as director-general of its nuclear energy agency – an effort, he says, to use his knowledge to help his country. 

Now a visiting scholar in the University of Toronto’s department of physics in the Faculty of Arts & Science, Shaaran is teaching the next generation of scientists and says he’s once again reminded of education’s power to drive change and social progress.

A former director-general of Afghanistan's nuclear energy agency, Tahir Shaaran is keen to use education to help his country and drive change.

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